Dining at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa

As I stayed in Whistler several times during the Winter/Spring ski season, I had the chance to dine in the restaurants at Hilton Whistler. I stayed at the Hilton over 2 separate stays as well and because of my Diamond status, had complimentary breakfast as well when overnighting in the hotel. The Hilton only has one main restaurant which is the Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grill, though it has an adjacent bar that has a more casual menu for lunch and dinners. The main Cinnamon Bear Grill is a more upscale dining venue but breakfast is served here.

Restaurant reception

Breakfast at the Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grill

Breakfast for hotel guests is served at the Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grill daily and Hilton Diamond members get a complimentary full breakfast buffet, inclusive of gratuities. Any extra tips added on the bill will be charged. It was no problem for me to get a table at the restaurant every morning though the wait by reception can be quite long at time due to the lack of staff.

Breakfast menu

While there is an a-la-carte menu to choose from, Hilton Diamond members gets access to the full breakfast buffet. Because most of the items from the a-la-carte menu are actually served on the buffet itself, I made it convenient to just go for the full buffet daily. Starting the buffet with the cereal and oatmeal section, there was 4 different kinds of cereal offered, and there are some small packs of cereal available as well. Dried fruits and nuts mix are provided on small metal canisters below and there is oatmeal available from the large pot.

Cereal and oatmeal station

Laid upon the main buffet console by the side, there was bagels and wholewheat or white toast available with a variety of jams, honey or butter as spreads. Sweeter pastries and croissants with three different kinds of muffins are also served daily. The buffet usually have a change of sweet pastries offered but the muffin choices seems to be standard.

Toast and bagels with condiments
Pastries and muffins

On the main buffet, there was a range of cold appetizers starting from boiled eggs, several different fruit bowls, and a mix fruit cocktail bowl that contains some quantity of grapes. Basic continental items like sliced smoked salmon, a variety of hams and meat slices and two kinds of basic American style cheese can be found in this section as well.

Fruits and egg
Assorted cold cuts

Condiments like pickles, onions, tomatoes and lemon wedges was provided next to the cold cuts section.

Breakfast condiments

Hot food items in the buffet includes scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, crispy potatoes, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. They were all served on casseroles allowing the items to be kept warmer for longer. My favourite items were the bacon and potatoes which was cooked perfectly.

Bacon and scrambled eggs
Sausages, mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes

Amongst the cooked food section, there was up to 3 different kinds of eggs benedict prepared on the buffet. The perfectly poached eggs were served upon tasty dough muffins either with salmon, ham or spinach as the topping.

Eggs benedict with ham or spinach

Freshly made waffles and pancakes can also be found on the buffet and there was syrups provided next to it along with other sauces for the other buffet dishes.

Waffles, pancakes and syrups

Aside from the main buffet, guests going for the full breakfast buffet gets coffee from the pot as well and refillable juices. Because of the staff shortage, guests could get the juice themselves from several points in the restaurants where jugs of cranberry, grapefruit, orange and apple juices are available along with still water.

Breakfast seating at the restaurant

Most of the tables in the Cinnamon Bear Grill has been setup for 4 people dining together though there are a few tables for groups of 2. It is also possible for the tables to be joined for larger groups.

Breakfast at Cinnamon Bear Grill

Dinner at Cinnamon Bear Grill

Because I had the room credit from declining daily housekeeping, I spent it for dinner on several occasions at the restaurant. The dinner menu at Cinnamon Bear Grill is more upmarket with three different pages, one for appetizers, one for main courses and a shorter dessert list. Appetizers range from C$17-22, while main courses are between C$30-43 each. It should be noted that breads are chargeable extras under the appetizers menu, and the hotel was having a promotion for guests who orders any main course, they will get a free sundae which is worth C$16 based on the menu. This is a pretty good deal since they can have a good 2 course meal for C$40-60.

Dinner menu

During the ski season, I had the privilege of dining here several times and I tried both the Moules Marinières and the Pacific Squid. The mussels can be had in itself as a main course if guests are not hungry and I would recommend the mussels since I am a fan of shellfish. The squid is more suitable as an appetizer and I would recommend ordering bread to go along with the squid as the remaining sauce goes very well with bread. The squid is nicely cooked and it is a hearty appetizer that I recommend to be shared.

Pacific squid with chorizo and tomato confit

For main courses, I ordered the ossobuco which is a veal shank served with risotto and the Angus ribeye. Being a big fan of ossobuco, the veal served here was tender and very tasty. However the risotto was not very well made as it was too creamy and lacked the saffron taste.

Ossobuco with saffron risotto

There are three different kinds of steaks offered in the restaurant, with diners having a choice of either the Striploin, Ribeye or Steak Frites. Diners who want a lighter dinner should go with the Steak Frites which is a smaller cut served with fries. Though I prefer the ribeye cut as it has more fats resulting in a juicier steak. Which is why the Angus ribeye here is probably my favourite main course in the restaurant. The ribeye portion is generous and it is served with mashed potatoes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and portobello mushrooms. A tasty red wine sauce is drizzled over the steak and in case diners need more sauce, they can request for extra sauce since the sauce served here is not a lot so as not to overpower the taste of the beef.

Angus ribeye served over mashed potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus and cherry tomatoes

The restaurant has a decent variety of wines served here and the menu includes wine pairings recommendations for the main courses. Prices for wine and beverages here are reasonable for a hotel restaurant and actually is good value in Whistler.

Sundae Bar

Because of the free sundae bar offered as part of the promotion, I indulged myself with the ice cream sundae. After all ice cream is probably everyone’s favourite dessert. There was 5 different flavours of ice cream and 2 flavours of sorbet, while diners can choose up to 2 flavours each. From there the buffet is transformed into a do-it-yourself sundae bar where there was a huge range of sauces and toppings to create your own perfect sundae.

Ice cream flavours

There was 3 different kind of hot sauces to choose from (chocolate, berries, and caramel), and plenty of nuts, chocolate shavings, candies, crackers and dried fruits to choose amongst as toppings.

Sauces for the ice cream sundae
Toppings for the sundae

Some of the jars and bowls on the sundae bar also contains items like popcorns, jelly beans and lollipops which makes them a very good sweet treat for families dining with kids.

Ice cream toppings bar

While the ice cream itself is nothing spectacular, the fun of making your own sundae with the huge range of toppings does make it something to look forward to in a dining experience and reminds me of the delight of dining as a kid in buffets offering sundaes in buffets.

Ice cream sundae

Adjacent to the main restaurant there is a bar that opens from lunch time to late night offering diners more casual food like burgers, wings and hot dogs. Prices here are slightly cheaper but not by much, though it offers diners more flexibility as it opens until later at night and caters to skiers and snowboarders with racks set up outside to hold their gear.

Cinnamon bear bar

Final Word

Hilton’s Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grill is by no means an upmarket restaurant venue, with the Cinnamon Bear Grill catering to families and hotel guests and the Bar catering to young skiers and snowboarders. I would rate the food here to be traditional favourites and I find the restaurant fares better at the classic simple dishes, so do not bother with the fancy offerings here and diners should not be disappointed. Combine that with the reasonable prices for breakfast or dinner, I can heartily recommend skiers and snowboarders to consider having dinner here, with a budget of around C$80-100 for a 3 course meal.

Seating at the Cinnamon Bear Grill

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